MFA is Basically Puberty

I survived my first year of grad school.

Celebratory Sbux Time. I am the stereotype.
Celebratory Sbux time. I am the stereotype.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the growing pains I’ve had this year. My first semester felt so rotten and wonderful at the same time–suddenly I became a part of an actual community of actual writers and it was beautiful and intimidating like a nebula.

click to go to JPL NASA photos
That’s right my fellow SBS writers, I just compared y’all to a beautiful interstellar cloud of dust. [[Click through for more awesome space photos.]]
I feel that I’ve grown up as a writer this year. I’ve been brainstorming and taking notes more (collecting pieces of life for inspiration), I have a clearer approach to revision, and I feel less intimidated by other writers.

Hell, I can even refer to myself as a writer without throwing up. It’s the little victories.

The process hasn’t been painless, though. Growing pains, like I said. And as in adolescence, sometimes I feel about a million things at once over my work. Maybe a billion. So many emotions that I get irritable and feel like I’m going to burst.

Attending the MFA program so far feels something like a second puberty. A writer’s puberty. Except the raging hormones are just complex feelings about literature. I love you Chekhov, I hate you Chekhov. I love you Munro, I hate you Munro. Although at least I don’t have to ask books out and face potential rejection and ridicule. Books always say yes to readers, the strumpets.

So that’s that. I’m looking forward to a summer of reading and writing and sunning. And acquiring more rejection letters from magazines. Just so long as no one asks me what my thesis is going to be.

You can still pre-order the anthology An Unlikely Companion in which my short story “An Emptiness That Burns” appears. The anthology will be released May 31st and if you use the code “4TRAVIS” you’ll get 10% off your order.

If anyone is in or near New York City next week, my visual storytelling professor from this semester Jules Feiffer is going to be in conversation with Neil Gaiman at the Kaufmann Concert Hall on Thursday, May 14th. Jules is one of the funniest, sharpest people I’ve ever had the opportunity to study with. It’s going to be a fantastic evening so if you can make it and afford the ticket (I think the only seats left are $35-$39 but there might still be a $15-$30 ticket in there) then I definitely urge you to go!

And hey, did you know you can follow me on twitter? Here’s just a taste of what you can expect from that:

Quality nonsense right there.